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BRUSSELS, March 3. /TASS/. Ukraine has not submitted a written refusal to pay for the Russian natural gas supplies to Donbass, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said here on Monday upon the end of Russia-EU-Ukraine trilateral talks.
"Gazprom did send a query to this effect to the Ukrainian partners," he said. "This was a query to confirm that front payments (for the gas supplied to the war-torn, economically devastated Donbass) will be made only if the amounts of gas in questions will not be pumped through the Platovo and Prokhorovka metering stations," Novak said. "Consequently, that’s an exchange of letters between Gazprom and Naftogaz Ukrainy."
"But there has been no confirmation from them and that’s why we agreed to put the issue of supplies to the (self-proclaimed unrecognized) Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics outside the ‘winter package’ when it comes to determining the volumes of gas we’ll supply (to Ukraine) for front payment," Novak said.
When a reporter asked him when the issue could be discussed, Novak said Russia was waiting for proposals from the Ukrainian side and the European Commission.
"I think these talks should be ties to the implementation of the Minsk Accords and the issue will be settled in the coming days and weeks," he said.
Novak also said Russia had supplied about 100 million cubic meters of gas to Donbass since mid-February.
"It’s roughly about 100 million cubic meters," he said when a reporter asked him to specify the volumes of supplies to the embattled southeastern areas of Ukraine.
In addition to it Novak said Ukraine’s demand for gas stood at 1 to 2 billion cubic meters for March.
"It’s 1 or 2 billion cubic meters, I think, depending on the air temperatures and economic needs," he said.
Novak said Ukraine might need no price discounts for gas for the second quarter of the year.
"Quite possibly, we won’t have to make any discounts because the price calculated upon a formula will satisfy everyone," he said, adding that it was too early yet to consider any discounts for the summer deliveries package.